Zen And The Art Of Net Startups

Banana Republic's founders try to work their magic online

Mel Ziegler remembers the exact moment he figured out the Web. It was 18 months ago when his doctor recommended he take fresh ginseng. Unsure of where to get the stuff, the 55-year-old Zen enthusiast turned to the Web. A quick search led him to a small ginseng farm in Wisconsin. Ziegler marveled at how he could instantaneously communicate with the farmer in Wisconsin while sitting at his computer in Mill Valley, Calif. He also began to wonder how he and wife, Patricia, co-founders of Banana Republic and the Republic of Tea, might use the medium for business themselves.

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